Ava DuVernay, Zendaya headline AT&T’s ‘Dream in Black’ brunch at Essence Fest

Ava DuVernay and Zendaya at the 2019 Essence Festival. (Photo credit: Asia Comans for Steed Media)

Ava DuVernay and Zendaya served as headlining guests at AT&T’s “Dream in Black” brunch during the 2019 Essence Festival. The event took place July 7 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown New Orleans.

Nearly 100 participants attended the invitation-only “Dream in Black” Brunch on the final day of the 25th annual concert event.

In its second year, the brunch highlighted entertainers, influencers and AT&T executives and celebrated Black culture. Singer Brandy kicked things off by singing a medley of her hit songs, which included “I Wanna Be Down,” and “Baby.”

“Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Nischelle Turner served as moderator for the event, which also featured a discussion with DuVernay, Zendaya, and AT&T Communications CEO John Dovonan.

Ava DuVernay and Zendaya at the 2019 Essence Festival. (Photo credit: Asia Comans for Steed Media)

DuVernay shared her thoughts on why it’s important for her to create and tell Black stories. She was also given a standing ovation for her work as a director of the hit film, “When They See Us,” which tells the story of the “Exonerated Five” (formerly known as the Central Park Five).

Zendaya also spoke about her roles in the blockbuster hit film Spiderman: Far from Home and the HBO show “Euphoria.”

Zendaya at the 2019 Essence Festival. (Photo credit: Asia Comans for Steed Media)

Donovan shared why it was important for AT&T to be present and host the brunch during the Essence Festival.

“There’s an expectation from employees and customers that you speak out on what your values are about as a company,”  he said. “People want to see themselves in that company or brand. I think that ensures that you’ll be successful in doing the right thing. You can’t be false, you have to be genuine. There’s nothing like being at Essence Festival. There aren’t a lot of places where you can have this type of learning experience and human experience.”

Nischelle Turner, John Dovonan, Ava DuVernay, Zendaya at the 2019 Essence Festival. (Photo credit: Asia Comans for Steed Media)
A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Shaw's latest book, Trap History, delves into the history and global dominance of Trap music. Follow his journey on TrapHistory.Com, Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.



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